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Alzheimer's research to enhance diagnosis

28 July 2009

Research into neurodegenerative disease at the Institute of Psychiatry has resulted in the development of a series of biomarkers, or tests, for Alzheimer’s disease. These tests are being further progressed as part of a licence agreement and may result in improved clinical tests for the disease.

Early and precise monitoring or diagnosis of Alzeihmers is of critical importance. Researchers, working in collaboration with Proteome Sciences plc, have developed a portfolio of patent-protected blood biomarkers of the disease.

To enable further development of these biomarkers, Proteome Sciences and Millipore Corporation have entered into an exclusive licence agreement in which Millipore will develop Luminex bead-based multiplex immunoassays to measure these proprietary Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers. This collaboration will benefit researchers in pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions developing new drugs and diagnostics to treat and monitor patients with the disease, directly connecting this research to patient care.

Simon Lovestone, Professor of Old Age Psychiatry and the lead academic in this collaboration commented, ‘Biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease are one of the most important targets for research. Finding a biomarker panel would help us to diagnose Alzheimer’s earlier and more accurately.

'Perhaps even more importantly a biomarker panel would help us to measure change in the state of a patient’s disease and the effect of treatment on its progression more objectively and so speed up the development of new therapies. It is really exciting to see our work progress to the final stage of development in collaboration with Proteome Sciences and Millipore.’

Proteome Sciences CEO Christopher Pearce added, ‘Our collaboration with Professor Lovestone and his team is a significant aspect of our research to discover and develop biomarkers of neurological conditions. Working together we have been able to generate a world-leading panel of plasma biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease, which is now being developed commercially in partnership with Millipore. This highlights the value of combining the best clinical, academic and commercial research within a biomarker centre of excellence to achieve clinically challenging and economically valuable end points.’

Alzheimer’s disease is the fifth highest cause of death in persons over the age of 65 and currently 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, therefore a biomarker for the disease is urgently sought. Biomarkers are used elsewhere in medicine for improved diagnosis, for pre-symptomatic diagnosis, for risk evaluation, to monitor disease progression or the results of therapy. Using a candidate based approach combined with proteomics the team identified these Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers that might be used in clinical trials and in clinical practice.

Proteome Sciences’ research is focused on neurological and neurodegenerative conditions and it has discovered and patented blood biomarkers in stroke and brain damage as well as several cancers, solid organ transplant rejection and Alzheimer’s disease.

King’s College London Business Ltd is managing all aspects of commercialisation on behalf of the College including the technology portfolio, contract and collaborative research, consultancy and clinical trials.



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